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International Angiology 2014 June;33(3):263-74

Copyright © 2014 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Biological and clinical effects of sulodexide in arterial disorders and diseases

Coccheri S.

School of Medicine, Bologna, Italy


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Arteries, veins and capillaries share the feature of hosting the “endothelial organ”, an ubiquitous structure lining the surface of the entire circulatory tree. Endothelial cells and their supporting elements as the basement membrane, the intracellular matrix, and the surface covering glycocalyx, although displaying significant regional differences, maintain a common response to injury and to pharmacological stimuli. Sulodexide (SDX), a highly purified extractive glycosaminoglycan (GAG), shows many biological actions indicating effectiveness in arterial disorders and diseases. In fact, SDX besides inhibiting experimental arterial thrombogenesis displays, especially by the oral route, a number of vascular protective actions that are largely independent of those affecting blood coagulation. Among the activities relevant to arterial disorders, the agent provides restoration of damaged glycocalyx and of degraded intracellular matrix, as well as antiproliferative, antinflammatory, antioxidant, anti-proteolytic and anti-ischemic activities. Among the latter properties, the inhibiting effect on the enzyme family of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and especially on the expression of MMP9 and its precursor, seems of crucial importance given the role of these matrix degrading enzymes in the pathogenesis and progression of atherothrombosis in coronary, carotid and peripheral arteries. These important biological data, many of them very recent, supply clues for the interpretation of a number of previous clinical trials in arterial diseases. Studies published in the years 1990-2005, showing significant reduction of cardiovascular events after a myocardial infarction, as well as a marked improvement in the walking ability in patients with peripheral arterial disease, deserve today an active re-appraisal likely conducive to new clinical research protocols in the field of primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease of atherothrombotic nature.

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